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Literacy accessibility with C-Pen Secure Reader 2

Published on
September 21, 2023 at 12:00:00 AM PDT September 21, 2023 at 12:00:00 AM PDTst, September 21, 2023 at 12:00:00 AM PDT

What do we mean by ‘accessibility in the workplace’? 


There’s a growing expectation—often in law—that the work we do is accessible, inclusive, and comfortable for all.  


From making sure that employees with disabilities can work effectively and without discomfort to supporting neurodivergent colleagues with the changes they need to succeed, accessibility in the workplace is a huge focus for diversity & inclusion aims in businesses all over the world.  


And although they’re a part of it, it’s not just about physical changes to working environments. As we move into the middle of the decade, and develop our understanding of neurodiversity even further, we’re likely to see a far greater focus on reading support as more and more people with dyslexia head into the workplace.  


The neurodivergent hiring revolution 

Supporting neurodiversity supports everyone. And the past few years have seen a surge in the number of businesses putting neurodiversity front and center when it comes to hiring initiatives. National security agencies have stated that dyslexic thinking skills are mission critical for protecting the country, and multinational professional services partnership EY have embedded neurodiversity and neurodivergent hiring initiatives within their business model for a number of years


Global businesses are actively seeking out neurodivergent talent to fill hundreds of thousands of roles cross-sector for their unique skills and talents. It’s a landscape that’s vastly different to how many neurodivergent colleagues may have found themselves viewed in a hiring pool a decade ago. 


It’s an important step forward, but it also means that as time goes by, more and more people with reading needs will be headed into the office… so getting accessibility in the workplace right is more important year on year.

Working with unsupported reading needs 


When someone has dyslexia or their literacy skills aren’t quite as developed as those of their peers, the working day can feel difficult and often stressful. There are so few jobs that don’t include an element of reading or organization, and employees might find it difficult to work to their potential if they’re constantly buffeted by reading stress, embarrassment, or even trying to avoid reading tasks when they arise. 


What does working with reading needs look like? 


Although not all reading needs are a result of dyslexia, it’s one of the most common reasons why somebody might struggle with reading tasks. 


But dyslexia manifests differently for everybody, and the way that symptoms impact your working day might shift over time as you develop coping mechanisms or are faced with new responsibilities. 


Some of the most common indicators are…  

  • Finding reading difficult, time-consuming, or draining  
  • Misreading information or struggling to take things in 
  • Writing differences, like spelling, proofing and grammar mistakes  
  • Feeling embarrassed when reading or writing in front of others  
  • Poor time management skills, leading to prioritization issues or late work  
  • Struggling with task sequencing and planning  
  • Experiencing visual stress due to imagery (i.e. graphics or presentations)  
  • Finding it difficult to communicate at speed (think Slack, WhatsApp, or MS Teams messaging)  
  • Feelings of burnout, or not being able to ‘switch off’ 
  • Struggling (or simply finding it tiring) to communicate socially with colleagues 
  • Masking (hiding neurodivergent traits for ease of interaction and/or social acceptance) 


Productivity, progression and accessibility in the workplace  


If you’re working without the right reading support, it’s not just the day-to-day that might be compromised. Unsupported reading needs can also have an impact on things like long-term productivity and meeting KPIs. A diligent, qualified colleague who always gives 100% but who takes two to three times longer to write reports might find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for a promotion. 


It’s vitally important that employers think holistically about accessibility in the workplace and ensure that progression paths are accessible and fair for individuals who have dyslexia or other reading needs, but it’s also important that everything possible has been done to support those colleagues in their productivity too. 

So how do we support reading needs at a business level? 


Many businesses use text-to-speech assistive technology as their main form of supporting reading accessibility in the workplace. One of the most common forms is a reading pen, although some businesses use screen readers (browser extensions that relay on-screen text aurally) too. 


The addition of this aural element to the reading process allows the user to access the text multi-modally, which as well as supporting their understanding of the text and boosting their reading confidence fosters vocab growth and better language skills. 


Accessibility in the workplace and data security  


It seems strange to talk about there being a flipside to creating working environments that are more inclusive and accessible for everybody, but there is one area where accommodations often have to be weighed up against some of the other pressing legal requirements of a business: data security. 


When a consumer commits information to someone, there’s a form of legal trust in most countries that that information won’t be shared or accessed by third parties. There are also places where data must be kept confidential because of the setting, such as in hospitals and in the armed and emergency services.  


It varies from scenario to scenario, but using regular assistive technologies to support reading can be anywhere from open to data breach to actually illegal, as their storage functions and data-gathering capabilities can often compromise security and leave that information vulnerable. 


What makes C-Pen Secure Reader 2 so special? 


There’s only one reading support designed for the workplace we’d trust with our data every time: C-Pen Secure Reader 2.  


It’s a reading pen designed for the needs of the modern workplace, with data privacy legislation in mind. Supporting reading needs is as simple as scan, listen and understand: users simply plug in a pair of headphones and move the tip of the pen across the page to hear the words read back to them. It’s discreet (although it can read text aloud via an inbuilt speaker too) and it doesn’t need a Wi-Fi connection to work, meaning that it’s ready to support wherever work happens.  


It combines award-winning text-to-speech technology with a zero-storage design for a privacy-first. What’s scanned stays between you and the pen, and no record is made of it on the device afterwards, meaning that nobody can be party to that information except the user and the person the data belongs to. 


Supporting English in the workplace with Secure Reader 2 


As well as supporting accessibility in the workplace for people who are neurodivergent or have disabilities, C-Pen Secure Reader 2 is well-placed to support working people who don’t speak English fluently with its unique, secure multi-modal English support.  


When you’re working in English but you’re not fully confident in those skills, it can be daunting. Sometimes it can make you feel less than secure in that job role or anxious about things like meeting targets or progressing as colleagues do. There’s also an element of risk to it in some professions, too: if English skills aren’t as fluent as they need to be, it might result in a safety issue if things are misread or haven’t quite been understood in the way that they need to have been.  


Understanding comes more easily if you can hear words as well as see them, and multi-modal reading supports the development of English skills across the board. And that’s not all! C-Pen Secure Reader 2 reads in French and Spanish as well as English, so there’s a holistic reading support suite in two more world languages at your disposal, too.  

What happens if we don’t get reading accessibility in the workplace right?  


When a business’ reading needs aren’t supported, both individuals and companies can find that problems arise. 


When those text tasks stay stressful and time-consuming, an employee’s progress might be limited—and it subjects them to unfair, possibly illegal levels of stress and pressure. This can lead to staff retention issues and a growing productivity issue, as well as the development of a ceiling in terms of neurodivergent achievement within that business.  


But when reading support solutions don’t have the ability to treat data in a secure and responsible way, even if businesses are fulfilling their role to stakeholders and employees, they may not be fulfilling their responsibilities in terms of the people whose data they hold. In some cases, this might actually be illegal. So, it’s a good idea to find reading support that keeps your data locked up tight!  


Find out more about C-Pen Secure Reader 2 today! 


It’s time to step up your reading support game and focus on accessibility in the workplace. Let’s move toward a more comfortable, supportive and productive working future together! 


Explore the possibilities with C-Pen Secure Reader 2 at Scanning Pens today.